Nothing Scary About the 2017 National Funeral Directors Association Conference

It was a real treat to be a part of the annual National Funeral Directors Association Conference last week. The event was fittingly held during Halloween and the Day of the Dead, October 30th through November 1st, at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center in Massachusetts. Representing Aftermath were Ben Dirks, Specialist in Funeral and EMS Relations, and the company’s Senior Manager of Law Enforcement Relations in the New England region, Ken Rosa.

Behind the Scenes

Most attendees were funeral home owners and/or directors and their families. A few were mortuary science students. “We were able to really communicate with our audience at this conference,” said Ben. “It’s important because the directors themselves are asked a lot of questions pertaining to death care, including what to do if someone dies in a home. Biohazard cleanup is a service you should not attempt on your own, or encourage the families to handle themselves. Many directors asked if we contracted with funeral homes directly, and others inquired about the cost of services or if we franchised or sub-contracted work (we don’t!).”

Ben also described one of the impactful discussions he had at the conference, which drove home the important role that directors and death care providers play in the lives of the living: “I spoke with a couple who owns a funeral home in Tennessee that served a family affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas last month,” he explained. “They told me how emotional and touching it was to see the love and support shown to the family by the community, before, during, and after the funeral service. A musician who tried to save the life of this young man even traveled from California to Tennessee to sing at his funeral.”

A Common Purpose

Somber discussions didn’t shadow the good times, however; in addition to business and learning more about the company, visitors to the Aftermath booth had an opportunity to enter a drawing for a $50 gift card. The winner was Chaplain Kenneth Brewster, Manager and 3rd Generation Funeral Director at Crowes Funeral Home in Jamaica, NY. Kenneth’s family-owned and operated business has served the Jamaica community for almost 75 years.

“It’s a great thing to be able to meet with directors one-on-one, and know that when we’re working with a family, there’s a supportive network of professional service providers who are ready to lend a hand, an ear, or a shoulder…whatever a grieving family needs to begin healing. It’s part of what we do at Aftermath, and it’s what directors are doing every day, too.”

Honoring Those Past

Ben also attended the NFDA’s annual “Service of Remembrance.” This service is held each year as a general session for all attendees to join together and participate in a mock funeral service. This year they celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Christian Reformation and honored different faiths and how those faiths practice funerals.  It also gave visitors a chance to pay their respects to all the loved ones that everyone had lost in the past year, a fitting way to give homage to traditional Day of the Dead celebrations.

“It was a moving experience for me,” Ben remarked. “While the real treat was getting to meeting with attendees, I was fortunate enough to attend several of the workshops as well, which really showcased the diverse skill set that those in the profession must bring to the table to service the needs of their communities.”

Aftermath is proud to work with directors across the nation, helping families recover from difficult and tragic circumstances. To learn more about our relationship with funeral homes or to request additional information or marketing materials, please contact us at info@aftermath.com.